The Freemason

This Sixth Plate Ambrotype is in excellent condition. I purchased it about 2010. It came without a case but the back of the glass plate had the subject’s name written on it in pencil which read, “Alden H. Blake, San Francisco, Cal. 1858.” My search for an individual by that name led me to:

Alden Hathaway Blake (1836-1916) was the son of Samuel Blake (1791-1882) and Anna A. Hathaway (1805-1847). Blake was a carpenter, a Civil War veteran, and a member of King David’s Lodge (Freemason’s) at Taunton, Bristol county, Massachusetts.

“Comrade Alden Hathaway Blake was born the first day of February, A.D. 1836, in Taunton county of Bristol, state of Massachusetts. He enlisted to the credit of his native town September 15, 1862, as private in Company G, 4th Regt. Mass. Volunteer Infantry. He was engaged in the Battle of Fort Bisland, April 13, 1863. Returning home he was discharged at Lakeville, August 28, 1863, because of expiration of term of service, having served 11 months and 13 days. His tent mates were Lemuel C. Porter, Hiram T. Cain, and Edward H. Walker.

He joined Post 3, February 1, 1867 and was elected Vice Commander December 1, 1885 and Commander December 7, 1886, and installed January 4, 1887, being re-elected for three succeeding years, declining further December 1890.

Believing that the Soldier’s lot in Mayflower Hill Cemetery ought to have something to designate to the passersby its sacred character and a monument being decided upon, he threw his whole soul into the work of securing funds for its erection, and the measure of success which crowned his efforts, let the beautiful and enduring monument tell to future generations.

This brief history would not be complete if no mention was made of his untiring efforts to increase the membership of his post and the fact that he obligated nearly 200 old soldiers during the four years he was commander speaks far louder than words, as is his ability and success.”

I’m inclined to believe that the image is of the Massachusetts native described above. He is enumerated in all of the Massachusetts census records except 1860 so I suspect he was in California at the time.

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